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Record sought in fundraiser

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Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2011 10:30 am

Mineola resident Craig Pinto is aiming for another Guinness World Record on Oct. 9, when he hopes to kick 1,000 field goals on the field at Bethpage High School to raise money for his Kicking 4 Celiac Foundation.

It's a large step up from the record he already holds, kicking 717 field goals in 12 hours for the same cause on that same field last Oct. 9.

"There are a lot of variables and we're hoping nothing goes wrong. It will be our second world record in one year, which is pretty neat," Pinto said.

Plans were finalized last week when the Town of Oyster Bay confirmed he could use the Bethpage field.

Last year, Pinto raised $5,000 from corporate sponsors and community members for the cause. This year, he hopes to double that amount. The money is to be used for $1,000 scholarships to cover the cost of gluten-free meals for college students who suffer from Celiac.

Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing nutritional parts of food. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats.

Pinto was diagnosed with Celiac 11 years ago, and remembers how difficult it was to find gluten-free food when he was going to college.

He's had plenty of experience kicking footballs between the uprights. Pinto was a place kicker on the Hofstra University football team and played two seasons for the New Jersey Revolution arena football team.

He's planning to do cardiovascular workouts in the run-up to his latest world record attempt, but he said the challenge isn't really a physical one.

"It's more mental preparation than anything. I know I can kick a football 40 yards," Pinto said.

To qualify for the Guinness World Record, the kicker must hit each ball from a distance of 40 yards, alternating between three spots on the field from that distance. When he set the 12-hour record last year, he started kicking at 7:30 in the morning and didn't take a break, except for water and occasional bananas, until he'd kicked 520 balls in the first six hours.

"I'm focusing on the main results, rather than the painful process of getting there," Pinto said.

At some point during his 24-hour marathon, a Guinness adjudicator will arrive to verify the record, he said.

While he gets a kick out of setting the field goal records, his primary goal is to raise money - and awareness of the disease - for fellow Celiac sufferers.

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